Residents and visitors who want to explore the maze of islands, marshes and rivers that separates our island from the mainland, go fishing, take nature walks, watch birds, dolphins, manatees, wild horses, sunsets or go sunbathing or fishing from a boat have plenty of opportunities as a variety of local enterprises offer a diverse choice of options ranging from driving a boat of your choice, being guided by a seasoned captain on a spiffy19-footer or boarding a large 45-person vessel for a narrated tour.
There’s lots to see and do as much of our life on this island is lived on the water — the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Cumberland Sound on the north, the Amelia River on the west, and Nassau Sound on the south. Not including fishing charters, here’s a sampling of just three nautical options all of which would make interesting Christmas gift certificates:
Oceanbird: Linda and I recently accompanied Captain Flip Gallion, his wife, Susan, and his Mother, Harriett, during a two-hour trip aboard Cap’n Flip’s 19-foot Grady White classic where we were treated to frolicking dolphins, wild horses on the Cumberland beaches, a stop at St. Marys , GA, in addition to fascinating narration from Flip and his charming songbird-photographer wife, who was once a backup singer to country singer Tammy Wynette. Flip’s mom, a life-long Atlanta resident until just a few months ago when she moved to our island, charmed us both with her genteel southern charisma and humor and appeared to have just stepped out of the film “Steel Magnolias.”
Oceanbird can accommodate a maximum of six folks and is running a November special of $140 for a two-hour excursion” (normally $100 per hour) and since sunset is so early now they’re encouraging folks to go for a sunset ride starting about 3:30-4:00. However, morning and early afternoon excursions are also available. Flip knows all the nooks and crannies of the island and its surrounding waterways and I suggest you take a camera. The boat also has full enclosures for year around comfort. For additional information go to www.oceanbird.com or call ’em at 904/753-2339.
Amelia Boat Club & Rentals (“ABC&R”): This boat club and boat rental business offers unlimited boating access for a monthly fee to its members with daily boat and wave runner rentals available to the public.
Operated by husband and wife team Monty and Capprice Kitchen, ABC’s fleet includes an array of pleasure boats, fishing boats and wave runners. When clients arrive at the dock, the reserved boat is clean, fueled, staged with requested accessories (tubes, skis, fishing rods) and life-jackets, ready to go. Casual boaters wanting to enjoy the waters surrounding the island can rent a boat or wave runner for a few hours. ABC can also provide a boat captain and private sight-seeing tours upon request.
Amelia Boat Club & Rentals is open year round with the exception of the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays and is located at 251 Creekside Drive – Off Hwy A1A, the island side of Shave Bridge, Dock E at the Amelia Island Yacht Basin.
Currently they have one-time special of pay the one-time initiation fee and no dues until March 1, 2015, that is available through the end of November and possibly thru the end of December if you twist their arms. They are also offering a 10% discount on a boat or wave runner rental if you bring them one of their ABC coasters from a local watering hole, a deal not listed on its website.
All boat rentals include one-tank of fuel and life-jackets. They also have tubes, knee boards and fishing poles available for rent; however, those things are included with boat club memberships.
Folks interested in learning more about the boat club or rentals, can visit www.ameliaboatclub.com or call ’em 904.572.3216. The web site features a wide variety of specials and options.
Amelia River Cruises & Charters: For almost 15 years Captain Kevin McCarthy and his crews have been offering a variety of diverse boating excursions for larger groups on his boats that can accommodate up to 45, all of which leave from downtown Fernandina Beach’s harbor.
November is the final month of the Family Friendly Sunset Cruises where you can bring your favorite beverage and food and even treat your out-of-town guests to a Thanksgiving Day 10:30 am cruise to Cumberland Island. Oh, and if junior is 12 or under they ride free this month and he can bring Fido too. Captain McCarthy says reservations are recommended and can be made by calling ’em at 904/261-9972.
Depending on the time of year Amelia River offers a wide variety of tours including an eco-shrimping cruise that enables people to experience the operation of a Otter Trawl shrimp net where guests scan actually participate in catching and releasing sea critters, with an on-board marine biologist explaining what’s what. A twilight cruise provides live musical entertainment and if you are lucky you’ll have wacky Captain Pajama Dave Voorhees as your guide. There isn’t a cruise that costs more than $28 that I could find with all kinds of discounts available for seniors and others but you can get more information by going to www.ameliaislandcruises.com or visiting their kiosk in front of the downtown harbor docks.
“King Canute” Corbett: Reversing the infamous John Kerry “I voted for it before I voted against it” quote and taking it to new heights Fernandina Beach City Commissioner and runoff candidate Charlie Corbett claims in a letter to voters, forum presentations, and statements to local media that he supported a variety of city projects ranging from the Front St. sidewalk to nowhere, library expansion, train depot restoration, downtown waterfront park, Main Beach boardwalk, lower taxes, new Humane Society building, July 4 privately funded fireworks, and so on. In fact, the initiative and money for these projects came from the last commission of which Corbett’s opponent Tim Poynter was a member and who was one of the projects’ major driving forces. During his previous campaign for commissioner Corbett angrily decried these efforts and actually voted to return ridiculously low interest rate money to fund them to the bank and now says the commission can’t fix the storm water situation because it doesn’t have the funds. I don’t think Charlie knows at this point what he is for or against but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him soon take credit for the tides, sunrises and sunsets.
The Florida Times-Onion: This past Saturday if you wanted to read about defending National Champion Florida State University winning its 25th consecutive football game against Virginia in Tallahassee or the University of Florida, beating SEC rival Vanderbilt, you had to do some digging if you purchased a $3.00 Florida Times-Union Sunday newspaper. Meanwhile the laughable Jacksonville Jaguars, the doormat of the NFL at 1-8, (now 1-9) preparing to play the Dallas Cowboys in London, were awash in TU ink and I had to wade through four pages of blah, blah about this wretched Jaguars football team before getting to page 5C of the Florida Times-Union sports section to read about the Seminoles, Gators or any other sports activity? Why in the world do the TU editors think its readers care about a dreadful local football team that is playing a game 4,500 miles away that folks hereabouts will not be able to attend, and then have to go on a hunting expedition to find a mention of our winning state college football teams? And while searching for other college scores I stumbled across another full page of Jaguars’ nonsense on page 14C. But wait, while foraging for real sports news I did find a single paragraph story about nationally ranked number one team Mississippi State’ s 45-16 win over Tenn.-Martin buried on page C-6. Disgusted I picked up the front page to check out state, national and world news only to discover that three-fourths of page A-1 was devoted to a story about how much the folks in London like the Jaguars with another full page inside Section A devoted to this drivel. A Times-Union front page news story about the imminent and scientifically proven end of the world would probably be headlined “Jaguars Game Questionable Due to Earth’s Impending Demise” while the “Second Coming” would only be reported if it was part of a Jaguars’ halftime show. Did Times-Union Editor Frank Denton lose a bet with Jaguars’ owner Shad Kahn? Or have the editors at the Times-Union lost all sense of news judgment? Maybe they should change the name of the paper to the Times-Onion.
Speaking Of The Jaguars: The Jacksonville Jaguars are an awful football team. But even awful teams often boast colorful players, by which I mean players that are funny or harmlessly bizarre, not homicidal and dodgy. But this Jaguar team is about as exciting as linoleum. It’s coach appears to be a nice enough guy named Gus, who is always smiling and saying pleasant things, and its players for the most part are not lined up to be fingerprinted or have mug shots snapped, which is a good thing, but they are just flat out boring. This team also reminds me of a quote by former New York Jets Coach Bruce Coslet who said: “We can’t run. We can’t pass. We can’t stop the run. We can’t stop the pass. We can’t kick. Other than that, we’re just not a very good football team right now.” Also they’re not a very interesting football team either with no wacky players like Don Meredith, Wahoo McDaniel, Bobby Layne, John Riggins, Walt Garrison, Alex Hawkins, or Ken Stabler to entertain its fans through a dreadful season. The oddest franshise character is team owner, Shad Kahn, the winner of the Bob Hope sidekick Jerry Colonna look-a-like contest, but as I think more about it, there just aren’t any colorful NFL football players around at all anywhere, a real shame, particularly in Jacksonville, where there is absolutely nothing to cheer or even chuckle about.
The Best Brunswick Stew In The World Department: The first time I tasted Brunswick Stew in Atlanta many years ago I liked it and commented to a friend that I thought it tasted like barbeque soup, an opinion I still hold. But the first time I tasted Desiree Dinkel’s (No, I did not make this name up) Brunswick Stew, I commented that it was the best I’ve ever eaten and that was further confirmed this week when I was presented with a fresh batch of Ms. Dinkel’s stew, which I pigishly horded at home and refused to share. Folks, if you ever have an opportunity to dip a spoon into a bowl of Ms. Dinkel’s stew I’m convinced you’ll share my high regard and you may have an opportunity as this delightful young lady can often be spotted participating in the many BBQ cook-off events held around the island and she has trophies to prove that she takes her competitive cooking seriously. Her stew recipe would have people waiting in line outside any serious southern BBQ joint.
Guns & Ammo Department: Recently in the news was a story about a Southern California man who was put Under 72-hour psychiatric observation when it was discovered he owned 100 guns and allegedly had 100,000 rounds of ammunition stored in his home. Here’s how that story would play regionally:
By Southern California standards, someone owning 100,000 rounds is considered “mentally unstable.”
- In Arizona, he’d be called ” avid gun collector.”
- In Arkansas, he’d be called “a novice gun collector.”
- In Utah, he’d be called “moderately well prepared,” but they’d probably reserve judgment until they made sure that he had a corresponding quantity of stored food.
- In Kansas, New Hampshire and Maine he’d be “A guy down the road you would want to have for a friend.”
- In Montana, he’d be called “The neighborhood ‘Go-To’ guy.”
- In Alabama, he’d be called “a likely gubernatorial candidate.”
- In Georgia, he’d be called “an eligible bachelor.”
- In Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina he would be called “a deer hunting buddy.”
- And in Texas he’d just be “Bubba, who’s a little short on ammo.”
The End Of The Road For Charlie Crist: When Charlie Crist (R) ran for the US Senate from Florida in 1998 he called on President Bill Clinton to resign saying he “shattered the trust and confidence of the American people” and when Charlie Crist (D) ran for Florida governor this past election he called Clinton, who campaigned alongside him, “one of the greatest Americans in the history of our country.” I think most Floridians can now breath a sign of relief that Mr. Crist has now been put out to pasture permanently and we’ll no longer be subjected to his mindless blather.
Curiouser and Curiouser: In an item about political correctness run amok, National Review this week positioned the state of America’s race relations in a place where “outrage is a virtue, guilt is assumed, explanation is irrelevant, and repentance is a bureaucratic process.” The Ferguson, MO rioting and looting situation is a perfect example and a sad commentary on just how far off the tracks the left has plummeted and the damage its leaders have done and continue to do to race relations in this country.